Amid energy crisis, France says cooperation with Algeria "indispensable"
Europe looks for energy alternatives to Russia.
France's foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said cooperation with Algeria is "indispensable" for regional stability. The French diplomat visited Algeria in an apparent attempt to soften up ties.
"We are facing regional challenges, first and foremost terrorism," he said on Wednesday after meeting his counterpart, Ramtane Lamamra and Algerian president Abdelmadjid Tebboune. "So our cooperation on security and for the stabilization of the region is indispensable in the Mediterranean and in Africa."
"The evolution of the situation in the Sahel and the need to relaunch the transition process in Libya" was an idea whose urgency Le Drian stressed in the meeting.
A diplomatic crisis between Algeria and France arose particularly as Macron denied the existence of Algeria before France's colonization, in addition to Paris refusing to apologize for its violent past. Algeria withdrew its ambassador in October after Macron, furthermore, accused the political-military system in Algeria of completely rewriting history, provoking "hatred towards France."
On Wednesday, Le Drian said that France and Algeria said reviving the bilateral relations is "essential for each of our two countries and that we wish to maintain over the long term."
Algeria is a major exporter of natural gas, covering more than 11% of Europe's needs.
With Europe's adamant economic boycott of Russia, major superpowers including the US are looking for ways to cover Europe's energy needs, eventually leading it into complete independence from Russia.
However, numerous officials, analysts and diplomats stress that Europe will not do without Russia any time soon, let alone Russian gas. Nonetheless, Algeria's economic importance has only increased with the current crisis.
On Monday, Italy signed a deal with Algeria to improve energy connections and expand Algeria's energy exports to Italy.
In the capital Algiers, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told reporters that "others will follow."